No matter the size of your company, having an appropriate IT budget is critical to your operations and ultimately your success. This involves first coming up with a budget that works for you and your company’s needs, then following that budget closely while ensuring you do everything you can to squeeze the most out of it. Below are five tips for doing just that. 

#1 – Get Your Priorities in Order

Those new technologies you saw in a magazine or in an ad may look tempting, but it’s important to turn your focus back to the basics and take the time to understand what you really need. Sit down and make a list of your company’s priorities. Determine what you absolutely must have in terms of your infrastructure as opposed to what you would like to have at some point. Be sure to consider things like buying hardware, upgrading things as necessary, and keeping up with maintenance. 

#2 – Get a Network Assessment

If you’ve never had your business network assessed for potential security issues, now is the perfect time to do it – and the sooner, the better. Network assessments are designed in such a way to figure out where your network is strong as well as where it is lacking. This can go a long way toward helping you prioritize what you absolutely have to have to keep your company’s data safe. 

#3 – Manage Your Resources Appropriately

If you will be undertaking an IT project of any kind in order to get your network up to par, see if you can move funds around from one area to pay for a little extra IT help. What’s more, consider outsourcing your IT projects and consulting in order to save even more. Outsourcing may seem a little scary, but when you pick the right local company, it’s just like having your own employee on the payroll. They work with you very closely and truly get to know your business. 

#4 – Look for the Most Cost-Effective Solutions

Don’t look for the cheapest solutions because like anything else, when it comes to IT, you often get exactly what you pay for. Instead, look for cost-effective solutions that provide you with the absolute best value for every dollar you spend. Outsourcing is often cost-effective, as is utilizing VoIP phone service as opposed to traditional landlines or even choosing hardware as a service rather than buying all your own equipment. These things can really give you the best bang for your buck in many situations.  

#5 – Use Your Money to Make More Money

Though it may seem impossible to spend money to make money when it comes to your company’s IT, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. As an example, if you invested in cloud-based software that you really love, consider offering that same solution to your client. Though you may not make a lot of money, it could help you get more for what you’re already spending, and ultimately, this stretches your IT budget even more. 

Getting the most out of your IT budget doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about understanding what your company’s priorities are, then finding ways to get the most value out of the budget that you have. To do this, manage your resources appropriately, schedule a network assessment so you can better understand your network issues, and then find the best and most cost-effective solutions to address those issues. 

Information technology has come a long way in the last two or three decades. Whereas servers once took up entire rooms, it is now possible to fit numerous servers in a room the size of a closet – something even experts would have never predicted. Below are five predictions for the future of IT that could affect the way your company does business – or at least affect the hardware and services it uses. 

#1 – Zero-Size Intelligence Technology is Coming

It’s hard to believe, but the first computers took up an entire room and had only a fraction of the processing power of today’s smartphone devices. Today, things are certainly different, and the technologies we use to keep us connected to the world and to our businesses easily fit in our pockets. Within the next 10 years, experts believe that we will be even closer to what is known as zero-size intelligence. This simply refers to having a ton of processing power in a very, very tiny package – perhaps even the head of a pin. 

#2 – VoIP Will Still Be Relevant

Though mobile phones have come a long way in the last several years, they simply cannot compare to the features and benefits associated with VoIP for business. In fact, companies that choose the right VoIP provider can enjoy many of the same calling features that a mobile phone would provide, including the portability. Other reasons why VoIP will remain relevant in the next decade include cheap international communication, enhanced affordability, user-friendly software, and incredible scalability. 

#3 – Mass Data Could Replace Independent Decision-Making

IT, or Information Technology, is all about data management. In the next 10 years, experts think that the tremendous amounts of data being collected, the machines used to process that data, and the algorithms telling those machines what to do could progress to a point where many independent decisions about what to watch, what to wear, and even what to eat become a thing of the past. In fact, the technological advances may even pose moral problems in the future as people must decide how to use the vast amounts of data they collect. 

#4 – Youth Involvement in Technology will Increase

There’s an ongoing joke that the older we get, the less “tech-savvy” we become, but it’s actually the opposite that is true. Younger people who grow up with the latest technologies fare far better in the high-tech world and they can adapt at a much faster rate than the older generations. Because of this, the younger generation is by far the best generation to drive the tech industry forward. They can build upon what they already know and create new technologies designed for convenience, safety, and more. 

#5 – You Will Need to Protect Yourself from So-Called “Dark” Networks

The more data we collect, the smaller the world becomes. The internet allows us to gain access to practically anything we can imagine – a recipe, a chat with a friend on the other side of the planet, and more – instantaneously with a few clicks. Unfortunately, while most people use the internet for good, there are some who use it for more sinister purposes. As technology advances in the next decade, these “dark web” groups and “hacktivists” will thrive, and they will pose new challenges for businesses of all sizes striving to keep their data safe. 

The next decade will bring about some brand-new challenges for everyone connected to the internet, including both consumers and businesses alike. In some cases, the problems we already see today will be exacerbated. Hopefully, though, with increased knowledge and the ability to predict the actions of others, it will be possible to make the right decisions about information, technology, and the way they work together. 

 

Information technology is a huge industry these days. In fact, almost every single company in existence – from one with only one or two employees to one with thousands spread across the globe – relies on accurate information and a secure network in order to thrive. Before you hire an IT professional for your company, look for the following qualities and skills to ensure the perfect match. 

Problem-Solving Skills

Information technology is fraught with problems. Things simply stop working, networks go offline, and hardware decides to simply stop functioning properly. However, an IT professional should be able to not only remain calm when these types of failures occur, but he or she should also be able to preemptively plan for such things to prevent any disruption to your business. Any IT professional you hire should demonstrate outstanding problem-solving skills for this reason. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with far more downtime than you anticipated. 

Effective Communication

Keep in mind that IT professionals must be able to communicate issues with other departments, and failure to do so appropriately could lead to trouble. Maintenance is just a part of information technology, and that means rebooting servers, checking network health, and more. These things should always be done outside of peak hours, but it is still important for other people or departments to be aware of when they will happen. It is also crucial that your chosen IT professional can explain complex networking issues in such a way that people in other departments can understand them. 

A Love for Technology

Some people have a love-hate relationship with technology, but for an IT professional, technology is life. These individuals not only appreciate everything technology has brought to the table over the last several decades, but they are also passionate about keeping up with new trends and technologies that could help your company thrive. Sometimes, a simple new technology is all it takes to help your company get a leg up on the competition, and this is far more likely when you choose an IT professional who is passionate about technology. 

Self-Discipline

For the most part, when you hire an IT professional (whether in-house or remotely) you will not be able to supervise around the clock. For this reason, choose an IT professional who is a self-starter and who can work on projects alone without supervision. This is the very definition of “dependable”; someone you can rely on to get the job done even if you are unable to answer questions or provide guidance. When combined with all the other qualities above, this individual should be perfectly capable of making decisions in the best interest of your company, as well. 

Hiring an IT professional can seem like a daunting task, and this is especially true if your own knowledge of IT is limited. However, whether you choose to hire someone in-house or outsource your IT needs to a company you can trust, these are all important qualities that you should look for. Ultimately, they can have a tremendous impact on your company’s success. 

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